] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The New 52: Week 3!

I thought we'd continue our look at some of the New 52 books, in anticipation of Aquaman joining the wave in less than two weeks!

sgAfter hearing so many good things about it, I decided to give the pre-derided Batwing #1 a try--and I'm glad I did.

Not knowing what Batwing was, I merely assumed it was just another cynical attempt by DC to cram another Bat-book onto the racks (something has to pay for OMAC). And while that might have been part of the the motivation, the results were surprisingly good.

Set in Africa (that right there is a nice change of pace), Batwing is about a local version of Batman, overseen by the Big Man himself. As goofy an idea as it might be, I kind of liked the idea of Bats "merchandising" himself, realizing that criminals in all countries are a superstitious, cowardly lot.

My only concern with the book is the art. I think Ben Oliver's work is just fine, but his smooth, painterly look doesn't, IMO, jibe with the book's tone and setting (I think Men of War's Phil Winslade might have been perfect). That comment aside, Batwing was a nice surprise. I'm happy to be wrong.

sgNext is Batwoman #1, the book I was most looking forward to this week. I am simply stunned by the work of J.H. Williams III, and even though I almost never buy a comic just for the art, hearing he will be handling the art (no matter what the book) guarantees I will at least give it a try.

Luckily, Williams (and co-write W. Haden Blackman) can write as well, and he knows how to weave a compelling story and solid characterization in between his mind-bending, dream-like layouts. Even though the book takes place in Gotham City and you've got appearances by Batman and Commissioner Gordon, Batwoman feels like a world of its own. And its a world I plan to revisit next issue!

sgI picked up one of the more oddball titles, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., on a lark, mostly because I like Jeff Lemire's work as a writer and I'm always up for a fun monster story.

Not having read any of DC's previous Frankenstein stories (other than Spawn of Frankenstein, back in the Paleozoic Era), I was kind of playing catch-up here with the characters and their relationships, and this is one dang crazy world! You've got Frankenstein, his multi-armed wife, a new set of Creature Commandos, Dr. Frankenstein reborn into the body of a little girl, not to mention an appearance by Dr. Ray Palmer (hey! Finally the Atom gets in on this whole New 52 business).

The book's story was sarcastic, violent, and blunt, in a manner that reminded me of late-period Warren stuff. The artwork by Alberto Ponticelli fit the material perfectly, and I like this just enough to think about coming back for the second issue.

sgI also picked up Justice League International #1, because I'm kinda of jonesing for some JLA-type action, and it looks like its going to be a while in the main JL book.

JLI is written by Dan Jurgens (who course had a solid, if brief, run on Aquaman) and drawn by Alan Loprestri and Matt Ryan. Nothing too ambitious going on here; its pretty much just straightforward superhero comics--but I actually liked that!

This is a perfect comic for early teen superhero fans, the kind who are too old for DC's "kids" line, but maybe shouldn't be reading books with high violent content like Frankenstein and Batwing. If DC is trying lure new readers to comics, I'd say Justice League International is the kind of book that might do it.

So that's it for this week. Remember folks--Aquaman #1 is now just a week and a half away!


El Ka-Bong! said...

There weren't any titles that I was overtly disappointed with this week. I picked up Frankenstein, Legion Lost, Grifter, Mr. Terriffic, and Batman and Robin. Mr. T and Batman and Robin were enjoyable and I can see the appeal to their storylines, but I've never really been big on Batman and I don't know enough on Mr. T to be too "into" it yet. I did thoroughly enjoy the other three though. I haven't been this into comics since I was in middle school in the mid 90s and jumping back into these storylines have been very entertaining to me. Overall I really like the characters I've been introduced to (or reintroduced to) and I'm looking forward to the next round.

Wings1295 said...

I am so looking forward to JLI!

Orin's dad said...

I enjoyed JLI myself, and Legion Lost too. JLI was, as rob! said, just good ol' fashioned superhero comics.

Count Drunkula said...

I did not like BATMAN & ROBIN. I've really never been wild about Peter Tomasi's writing; I dropped Green Lantern Corps during "Blackest Night" because I didn't like the writing.

I thought the dialogue between Batman and Robin was horrible and not at all how Bruce would handle Damien. Grant Morrison really is the only one who has been able to write Damien; everyone characterizes him as an @$$hole, but Morrison made him a funny, bratty, charming @$$hole. And the part where Batman describes his father's "sucking chest wound" and mother bleeding through a hole in her throat... What the hell, Pete? Batman DOES NOT TALK THAT WAY. Batman never, ever says more words than he has to. The only--ONLY--reason he would speak to Robin with that kind of language would be to scare the $#@% out of him.

I thought this title would be safe, but Tomasi continues to turn me off of well-established books.

Count Drunkula said...

On the other hand, the other books I've read so far have been great.

BATWOMAN wins as long as JH Williams runs the show! I, too, was worried that the book would suffer without Greg Rucka, but for this first issue, I hardly noticed. Great story, great dialogue, great new villain and always incredible artwork!

I wasn't sure how I would feel about GREEN LANTERN's new status quo, but I really enjoyed it. It's fun seeing Hal so down and pitifully "powerless", yet still brave and bold (albeit stupidly) without the ring.

DEMON KNIGHTS was a lot of fun, too. I didn't know who all would be in this cast aside from Etrigan and Madame Xanadu, but once I saw Vandal Savage, I got really excited. And then once I saw Morrison's version of Shining Knight (Sir Ystin/Justin), I got really excited to see where this goes.

I should be getting the rest of Week 2 books on Monday. I'm looking forward to FRANKENSTEIN, and I've heard surprisingly good things about SUPERBOY.

Joe Slab said...

DEMON KNIGHTS was definitely my Pick-of-the-week for Week 3!!! I was supposed to write a recap for the Shrine, but life got in the way so here's my 3 cents:

I almost skipped this book entirely due to being more of a super-hero genre type of guy but I am so glad I didn't! DEMON KNIGHTS #1 has everything: action, suspense, supernatural horror, humor and perfectly blends the lot of them. Throw in a huge dose of effective use of DCU history and a bunch of cool cameos and you great read on your hand!

If you skipped this one, go back and get it if you can. My prediction is that it won't be long before Atlantean history is also touched upon in this book.

Joe Slab

JasonMotesBowles said...

I agree with everything you said! I reviewed Batwing and Batwoman on sciencefiction.com, if you want to check those out.

Russell said...

I went to a shop in Detroit while I was there on business and they were sold out of EVERYTHING. When I got back my local shop was also sold out. So...I'm not buying anything, but it doesn't sound like I need to. And my wife is happy that I'm not buying them, so it's win-win. :-)

Russell said...

...and by "need to" I mean, they are selling out without me using my money. The only loss is that I'm not reading them, but that is okay, believe me, haha!